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Idolatry, part 3
Ephesians 5:13-14 “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,14 for it is light that makes everything visible.” Everything thing exposed by the light becomes visible. That does not mean that if you turn on a light that you can finally see something that was in the dark. This is talking about spiritual insight. Anything that you suddenly become aware of as being sinful is because Christ has caused you to see it. You cannot see sin without Jesus. It is Light (Jesus) that makes everything visible.
So if you now see the sinfulness of the things listed here – it’s because Jesus, in you, has revealed it to you. And if Jesus is in you – you cannot be an idolater at the same time.
This is the whole dilemma Paul is stressing in Romans 7 when he says, “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I…”is an indication of his salvation. Look at what he concludes – immediately after confessing his struggle with certain sins he says – “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
We must see the difference between what we “hate and what we do.” He continues on: "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.”Here we have Paul, the Apostle – a Christian – telling us that he struggles with sin – but that does not make him an idolater.
Now listen to what he says, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; (he has Light) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” The very fact that he can see the struggle, is a struggling with a certain sin shows he has “Light” in him but he recognizes that this can move him into being an idolater if he allows it. The issue is idolatry – not certain “sinful” activities.
I was talking with someone not very long ago about the issue of Christians having a beer once in a while. I cannot, from a theological perspective, say that it is a sin to drink a beer. I can say, however, if drinking has become an idol, then you are at risk, because no idolaters will have a part in the Kingdom of God. The same has to be true with movies. Most of today’s movies fit the category of being, impure, sexually immoral, obscene, filled with coarse joking, and foolish talking, yet if a person goes to a movie that has those things in it – are we going to say they have just lost their salvation? I don’t think we can – but if a person idolizes Hollywood, worships movie stars, and spends more money on it than they do God – the Scripture is quite clear then. To do those things means you have no struggle with these things – the lack of struggle means the lack of Light.
It is much easier to be a clothesline preacher and simply state the things we can do and the things we cannot do. But that is not right theologically. It isn’t the activity that is a problem – it’s idolatry. There are many Christians that have never touched alcohol, and are proud of it, and yet find that their lives are filled with obscenities and impurities.
What I believe Paul is getting at in this chapter is the difference between those who will respond to Christ and those who won’t. It seems Paul is saying that there are those who are opposed to the Light of Christ and are subsequently in the path of death because they are idolaters. And then there are those who are in the Light and are on the path of life even though they may struggle with some of these things. It all comes down to an attitude of heart, which is determined by our attitude toward Christ.
Medication: A Merry Heart
A college professor met his new class on the first day of school. He stood before them and gave a nice introduction to the class and about himself. Upon completion of his monologue he looked around the room and asked his students "If any of you think you are stupid, stand up." As he looked around he saw that all of his students did not stand.
He proceeded to ask the same question again, "If anyone thinks they are stupid to please stand up."
The college professor looked around and to his surprise one tall student in the back of the room stood up. The professor asked, "Do you think you are stupid?"
The first year student replied, "No Sir, I just didn't want you to feel alone."
God Bless, Press On!
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: John 15:15 ESV
Today’s readings: Ezekiel 32 – 34